Game developer Majesco's newly released NBA Baller Beats attempts to revive the nearly extinct rhythm video game genre -- and it doesn't involve playing a mock musical instrument, but rather bouncing a ball in front of your television.
To play Baller Beats, you merely need to bounce a basketball (or any similar-shaped ball) to the rhythm of a chosen song. A crescendo of icons float down a virtual track, instructing you to perform up to 20 different moves, such as dribbling the ball with a certain hand, or between legs, or performing a pass fake.
The game also features an eight-player multiplayer mode, as well as various difficulty settings and unlocks. The $59 Baller Beats also includes a real full-size Spalding replica NBA basketball, perfect for losing control of and destroying something breakable in the living room.
The music selection includes 30 slightly aged -- yet still popular -- urban and electronic songs by artists including Run DMC, Skrillex, Kanye West, and others. Color me sad on no inclusion of John Tesh's "Roundball Rock."
Despite the game's unique premise, you have to question the common sense of playing something like this in front of an expensive flat-screen TV. One slip of the hand and suddenly that cherished television or nearby glass fixture becomes a prime target for destruction. I can already imagine the sound of fragile things shattering.
Despite that risk, Gamezone, for one, walked away content with the accuracy of the Kinect's ability to capture the ball bouncing, and noted that the supplied basketball actually worked on carpet.
The Official Xbox Magazine reported a similarly positive experience, but cited the usual concern about Kinect's camera requirements needing large free space to ensure accurate motion capture. The Xbox rag also wondered if neighbors would find the repeated noise of a heavy ball bouncing tedious after long stretches.
I can assure you my roommate would deflate my ball if I had this going on on our hardwood floors for more than 5 or 10 minutes.
NBA Baller Beats, developed in conjunction with the now defunct HB Studios, debuts today.